Monday, November 28, 2011

My "Come to Jesus" Moment

So, as I'm sure it's been obvious to everyone, I've been pretty discouraged.  Bordering on depression even.  I now struggle ALOT at work.  This is bad.  When you are a therapist, you MUST hear.  Those ugly feelings of uselessness are roaring.  Once I made the decision to get an implant, I wanted it done NOW.  Well, life doesn't work like that.  So as I've been going through the evaluation process again, still without having any answers about it actually happening, I've been losing hope.

I was driving home in a recent snow storm late at night.  I couldn't see a thing.  As I was driving super slow trying to figure out if I was in an actual freeway lane, I was anxiously searching for anything that would guide my driving.  As I stared at the road, I finally began to see an occasional white line, marking the lane division.  Every several feet I would see a line.  I would either know I was still within my lane or I would course correct to go back into my lane.  As I was thinking about this, I realized that my feelings of hopelessness along my implant journey have been due to me not seeing any "white lines."  I felt I was navigating this journey alone with nothing to guide me.  I challenged my thinking (that's a good therapy technique by the way) and began thinking about all the things along the way that have kept me going.  There were actually a lot.  Mostly, the white lines of this journey have been the people in my life.  My co-workers have given me "white lines" by validating me, praying for me, building me up and accomodating me.  My in-laws have given me "white lines" by being mindful of me, still trying to talk to me and praying for me.  My family has given me "white lines" by asking questions, being patient and remaining involved in the journey.  Marie, the rep from Cochlear Americas, has provided "white lines" by researching my insurance and finding a way.  Also, by her constant follow up.  My husband has given me "white lines" by joining me in the journey and making phone calls to follow up.  My children have provided white lines as they tell me often "Mommy, I love you soooooooo much."  As I realized how much people cared about me and how invested people were in my hearing, my feelings of hopelessness left me.  My new thoughts (also a good therapy technique :) became "surely all this combined faith will yield answers from my loving Heavenly Father and I will be taken care of."  Also, I was filled with peace that things would work out.  Maybe, not in the ways I think it will, but still, it will all work out.  I do not feel discouraged anymore.  I know it's going to be okay.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

An update

Well, another evaluation is underway.  But I am no closer to knowing if an implant is in my immediate future.  Still waiting on my insurance to pre-authorize it.  We recently found out that we are changing insurance providers on January 1st and the new provider will not cover any amount of an implant.  So we have until the end of this year to get this done.  No pressure, eh?

Honestly, the evaluation process this time around has been super hard on me.  First, I met the surgeon.  He determined I was a candidate but couldn't tell me anything about the insurance/financial aspect of it.  Second, I had met with the audiologist.  Really like her.  However, they (don't ask who they is because I don't know, someone in the implant world) changed the tests that were required to determine eligibility.  Last October, my test scores on the HINT were 19% and I was shocked.  That's the test in which I wear my hearing aids and listen to sentences from a speaker in the wall.  You have to get below 50% to qualify for an implant.  My score, obviously, qualified me as depressing as it was to score that low.  However, the tests have changed in the last year.  The Audi warned me but I had no way of preparing for what would come through that speaker in the wall.  I don't even know how to describe it.  It was humiliating.  Just sounds like static and mumbles came out.  There was absolutely no sound I could make sense of.  The Audi said "just guess the best you can."  You have to have something to go on to guess.  I just stared at the speaker willing my brain to make sense of the words.  I moved closer to the speaker.  The Audi said that was "cheating" and I couldn't get closer to the speaker.  It was so long.  It lasted soooooo long.  Both ears were tested, just the right and just the left.  Then the Audi said I had to do it again but this time there would be noise in the background and it was a test that got progressively harder, to the point that those with normal hearing can not hear.  I knew I was doomed when it started.  Again, no comprehension.

Well, obviously, I qualified for an implant.  Again.  But this time I felt incompetent.  How can I function like I have been daily and not be able to pick up any sounds in this ridiculous test.  I got a bit insecure and wanted to tell the Audi that I had a Masters degree and that my brain worked, like I had to prove myself.  I kept my mouth shut.  No need to prove myself.  Being prideful isn't going to get me anywhere.  And what were my scores, you wonder?  Less than 1%.  That was hard to swallow.

Then we had to talk about my expectations and my ability to rehabilitate myself.  All of this and I still didn't know if I could get an implant.

I am waiting on the insurance/scheduling coordinator to get back to me about insurance approval.  In the mean time, I am proceeding with the other tests, though it does feel a little bit in vain.  I went and got my shot to immunize me against Meningitis.  I know I am a wimp, but that was incredibly painful.  It still is.  I hope my arm feels normal again one day and that I can move it without wincing in pain.  I am going to choose to blame the nurse on this one.  I really don't think it should have hurt that much.

Also, I did the balance test.  Yeah, that was fun.  I don't even want to talk about that one!  So after each test, I keep hoping to learn that this is still a possibility for me and that it can happen within the next month or so.  Not knowing isn't exactly keeping me positive and encouraged.  Thankfully I have this gi-normous support group that is staying positive and helping me in my moments of discouragement.  There is a woman who works for Cochlear Americas that has been a HUGE adovocate on my behalf.  I am so grateful to her.  So, so grateful.

I'm hoping they can use the MRI from last year so I don't have to undergo that one again.  I will have to meet with the surgeon again but I think I've completed all my part.

While driving home from the balance test and feeling discouraged, I did some soul searching.  Asking myself if I really wanted to become part machine.  If I really wanted to undergo a surgery.  If I really wanted to get an implant.  The answer was obvious.  Yes.  Yes.  This is what I want.  This is what I need and I won't stop fighting for it.  The world is a hearing world and I am NOT giving it up!!